Digital Livestock Records 

 May 28, 2021

No matter how small or large your livestock operation is, good record keeping is important.  You would think with only one or two cows you would be able to remember when a calf was born, or when you bred your cow, but I have received so many messages over the years from customers asking when their cow was bred or when they are due to calve.  

There are several professionally made programs such as Cattle Max and others, but if you have priced them, you have found they can cost in the hundreds of dollars.  I have tested one or two of these programs, but could never justify the cost myself.  In the past I have just kept my records in an Excel Spreadsheet, which worked very well, but it limited me to accessing the information only on my desktop.  Then I converted the records over to Google Sheets.

Here are some of my Pro’s and Con’s of Google Sheets:


  • Free
  • Records accessible and updateable remotely
  • Data saved in the Cloud, so no lost records
  • Completely customizable
  • Able to share with employees or family members


  • Must have some spreadsheet experience to create
  • Does not create reports
  • No fancy graphics

So what kind of information do I keep in my records?  I break my information into 3 groups: Herd Inventory, Breeding Records, and Yearly Offspring Information

Herd Inventory:

  • Identification (eartag, tattoo, freeze brand, etc)
  • Breed (including breed association registration numbers)
  • Sire / Dam
  • Performance Date (birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight)
  • Phenotype / Genetics (color, horned, genetic carrier status, ect)

Breeding Records:

  • Identification
  • Breeding Date
  • Sire Information
  • Re-Breed or Pasture Exposure Information
  • Due Date

Offspring Information:

  • Date of Birth
  • Breed
  • Performance Data (birth weight, calving difficulty, weaning weight, yearling weight
  • Phenotype / Genetics (color, horned, genetic carrier status, etc
  • Disposal (sold, mortality, or added to herd)
  • Vaccinations and Treatments

Feel free to use this template from our partner at Galaxy Cattle Co. as a starting point!


There are so many different things you can document in your herd, so take my lists as just suggestions and have fun with them.  Happy Record Keeping!

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